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1.
Rural Remote Health ; 22(2): 7442, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1847989

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged population health researchers to use remote data collection methods to avoid face-to-face interaction. A proper assessment of the feasibility of these methods in low-resource settings is lacking. We share our experience from telephone interviews conducted among pregnant women in the Rajarata Pregnancy Cohort in Sri Lanka. Among 3374 participants, 3284 (98.4%) and 496 (14.7%) had mobile and fixed-access phones respectively. During interviews, 1576 (51.9%) of participants were non-contactable. Of these, there were 157 (5.1%) wrong numbers, 889 (29.1%) were unavailable/phone switched off and 479 (15.7%) didn't answer their phone. Telephone interviews were completed only among 1438 (42.6%). Of these, 476 (33.1%) used messaging apps. In this local setting, these methods led to selection bias and inequity in health message delivery. If other ways to target vulnerable people in rural areas are not in place, the adoption of a telephone-based strategy to health message delivery may worsen health disparity during the COVID-19 pandemic. These facts aid in the planning and implementation of research and health promotion initiatives in rural areas of low- and middle-income nations throughout the world.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Feasibility Studies , Female , Humans , Internet , Pandemics , Pregnancy , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Telephone
2.
Ceylon Med J ; 66(4): 177-184, 2021 Dec 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1792290

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The acceptability of a vaccine is an important factor during mass vaccination programs and this is largely dependent on the symptoms of local and systemic reactogenicity. There is paucity of data on the systemic and local reactions experienced by COVD-19 vaccine recipients in South Asia. Objectives: To identify the early local and systemic reactogenicity of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine. Method: A multicenter observational study was performed to identify the reactogenicity to ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine in healthcare workers following the first dose. Results: There were 4478 participants with a median age of 42 years (IQR 34-51) and 2863 (63.9%) were females. At least one symptom of reactogenicity was reported by 4151 (92.7%). Local reactions were reported by 2612 (58.3%). Systemic reactions were bodyache (3244,72.4%), fatigue (2379, 53.1%), headache (2277, 50.8%), fever (2290, 51.1%), feverishness (1912, 42.7%) and chills (2295, 51.3%). Lower age (p<0.0001) and female gender (p 0.002) were associated with a higher frequency of developing systemic reactions. There was no association between reactogenicity and comorbidities. There were 342 (7.6%) reports of palpitations and one case of ventricular bigeminy. There was one report of anaphylaxis and hospital admissions were reported by 24 (0.5%). One vaccine recipient was managed for possible aseptic meningitis. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that early systemic and local reactions are common. Systemic reactions were more frequent in females and in the younger population. Most symptoms were self- limiting and did not require medical attention or hospital admission. ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine appears safe in the studied population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Sri Lanka/epidemiology
3.
BMJ Open ; 12(4): e054061, 2022 04 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774957

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Pesticide self-poisoning kills an estimated 110 000-168 000 people worldwide annually. Data from South Asia indicate that in 15%-20% of attempted suicides and 30%-50% of completed suicides involving pesticides these are purchased shortly beforehand for this purpose. Individuals who are intoxicated with alcohol and/or non-farmers represent 72% of such customers. We have developed a 'gatekeeper' training programme for vendors to enable them to identify individuals at high risk of self-poisoning (gatekeeper function) and prevent such individuals from accessing pesticides (means restriction). The primary aim of the study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the gatekeeper intervention in preventing pesticide self-poisoning in Sri Lanka. Other aims are to identify method substitution and to assess the cost and cost-effectiveness of the intervention. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial of a gatekeeper intervention is being conducted in rural Sri Lanka with a population of approximately 2.7 million. The gatekeeper intervention is being introduced into 70 administrative divisions in random order at each of 30 steps over a 40-month period. The primary outcome is the number of pesticide self-poisoning cases identified from surveillance of hospitals and police stations. Secondary outcomes include: number of self-poisoning cases using pesticides purchased within the previous 24 hours, total number of all forms of self-harm and suicides. Intervention effectiveness will be estimated by comparing outcome measures between the pretraining and post-training periods across the divisions in the study area. The original study protocol has been adapted as necessary in light of the impact of the COVID-19. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The Ethical Review Committee of the Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Rajarata University, Sri Lanka (ERC/2018/30), and the ACCORD Medical Research Ethics Committee, Edinburgh University (18-HV-053) approved the study. Results will be disseminated in scientific peer-reviewed journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: SLCTR/2019/006, U1111-1220-8046.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pesticides , Commerce , Humans , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Rural Population , Sri Lanka/epidemiology
4.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 388, 2022 02 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700631

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Dengue is the major mosquito-borne disease in Sri Lanka. After its first detection in January 2020, COVID-19 has become the major health issue in Sri Lanka. The impact of public health measures, notably restrictions on movement of people to curb COVID-19 transmission, on the incidence of dengue during the period March 2020 to April 2021 was investigated. METHODS: The incidence of dengue and COVID-19, rainfall and the public movement restrictions implemented to contain COVID-19 transmission were obtained from Sri Lanka government sources. A Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) model was used to predict the monthly dengue incidence from March 2020 to April 2021 for each of the country's 25 districts based on five years of pre-pandemic data, and compared with the actual recorded incidence of dengue during this period. Ovitrap collections of Aedes larvae were performed in Jaffna city in the Jaffna district from August 2020 to April 2021 and the findings compared with similar collections made in the pre-pandemic period from March 2019 to December 2019. RESULTS: The recorded numbers of dengue cases for every month from March 2020 to April 2021 in the whole country and for all 25 districts over the same period were lower than the numbers of dengue cases predicted from data for the five years (2015-2019) immediately preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of dengue cases recorded nationwide represented a 74% reduction from the predicted number of dengue cases for the March 2020 to April 2021 period. The numbers of Aedes larvae collected from ovitraps per month were reduced by 88.6% with a lower proportion of Ae. aegypti than Ae. albopictus in Jaffna city from August 2020 until April 2021 compared with March 2019 to December 2019. CONCLUSION: Public health measures that restricted movement of people, closed schools, universities and offices to contain COVID-19 transmission unexpectedly led to a significant reduction in the reported numbers of dengue cases in Sri Lanka. This contrasts with findings reported from Singapore. The differences between the two tropical islands have significant implications for the epidemiology of dengue. Reduced access to blood meals and lower vector densities, particularly of Ae. aegypti, resulting from the restrictions on movement of people, are suggested to have contributed to the lower dengue incidence in Sri Lanka.


Subject(s)
Aedes , COVID-19 , Dengue , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , Dengue/epidemiology , Dengue/prevention & control , Humans , Incidence , Mosquito Vectors , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Sri Lanka/epidemiology
6.
Epidemiol Health ; 44: e2022015, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638989

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted global health systems and affected the transmission dynamics as well as the surveillance of other infectious diseases. This study described the probable effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the surveillance and control of leptospirosis in Sri Lanka. With 8,579 reported cases and more than 800 estimated deaths, the Sri Lankan public health surveillance system documented the largest outbreak of leptospirosis in Sri Lankan history in 2020. This was the worst infectious disease outbreak Sri Lanka experienced in 2020, but it was neglected, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Leptospirosis , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Leptospirosis/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Sri Lanka/epidemiology
7.
BMC Res Notes ; 15(1): 3, 2022 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1607105

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To study the change in trend of antenatal mental health and associated factors among a cohort of pregnant women during the second wave of COVID-19 using Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Previous study using the same scale, during the first wave reported a higher prevalence of anxiety and depression. RESULTS: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at the two large maternity hospitals in Colombo, Sri Lanka: Castle Street Hospital for Women (CSHW) and De Soysa Hospital for Women (DSHW). Consecutively recruited 311 women were studied. Out of which, 272 (87.5%) were having uncomplicated pregnancies at the time of the survey and 106 (34.1%) were either anxious, depressed, or both. Prevalence of anxiety was 17.0% and depression 27.0%. Overall, continuing COVID-19 pandemic increased antenatal anxiety and depression. The trend was to aggravate depression more intensively compared to anxiety in this cohort of women studied. Special support is needed for pregnant mothers during infectious epidemics taking more attention to antenatal depression.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pregnant Women , Anxiety/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Mental Health , Pandemics , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2 , Sri Lanka/epidemiology
8.
Front Public Health ; 9: 724398, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555557

ABSTRACT

Background: As the Municipality Council area in Colombo (CMC) experienced the highest number of cases until the end of January 2021, in Sri Lanka, we carried out a serosurvey prior to initiation of the vaccination program to understand the extent of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. Methods: SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity was determined in 2,547 individuals between the ages of 10-86 years, by the Wantai total antibody ELISA. We also compared seroprevalence using the haemagglutination test (HAT) to evaluate its usefulness in carrying out serosurveys. Results: The overall seropositivity rate was 24.46%, while seropositivity by HAT was 18.90%. Although The SARS-CoV-2 infection detection rates by PCR were highest in the population between the ages of 20-60 years of age, there was no statistically significant difference in the seropositivity rates in different age groups. For instance, although the seropositivity rate was highest in the 10-20 age group (34.03%), the PCR positivity rate was 9.80%. Differences in the PCR positivity rates and seropositivity rates were also seen in 60-70-year-olds (8.90 vs. 30.4%) and in individuals >70 years (4.10 vs. 1.20%). The seropositivity rate of the females was 29.70% (290/976), which was significantly higher (p < 0.002) than in males 21.2% (333/1,571). Conclusions: A high seroprevalence rate (24.5%) was seen in all age groups in the CMC suggesting that a high level of transmission was seen during this time. The higher PCR positivity rates between the ages of 20-60 are likely to be due to increased testing carried out in the working population. Therefore, the PCR positivity rates, appear to underestimate the true extent of the outbreak and the age groups which were infected.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Child , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Young Adult
10.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0257548, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506154

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 varies depending on social distancing measures, circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, host factors and other environmental factors. We sought to investigate the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak that occurred in a highly dense population area in Colombo, Sri Lanka from April to May 2020. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We carried out RT-qPCR for SARS-CoV2, assessed the SARS-CoV-2 specific total and neutralizing antibodies (Nabs) in a densely packed, underserved settlement (n = 2722) after identification of the index case on 15th April 2020. 89/2722 individuals were detected as infected by RT-qPCR with a secondary attack rate among close contacts being 0.077 (95% CI 0.063-0.095). Another 30 asymptomatic individuals were found to have had COVID-19 based on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies. However, only 61.5% of those who were initially seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 had detectable total antibodies at 120 to 160 days, while only 40.6% had detectable Nabs. 74/89 (83.1%) of RT-qPCR positive individuals were completely asymptomatic and all 15 (16.9%) who experienced symptoms were classified as having a mild illness. 18 (20.2%) were between the ages of 61 to 80. 11/89 (12.4%) had diabetes, 8/89 (9%) had cardiovascular disease and 4 (4.5%) had asthma. Of the two viruses that were sequenced and were of the B.1 and B.4 lineages with one carrying the D614G mutation. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: Almost all infected individuals developed mild or asymptomatic illness despite the presence of comorbid illnesses. Since the majority of those who were in this underserved settlement were not infected despite circulation of the D614G variant, it would be important to further study environmental and host factors that lead to disease severity and transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Population Surveillance , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Child , Child, Preschool , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Geography , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Young Adult
11.
Glob Health Res Policy ; 6(1): 36, 2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440961

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The highly contagious nature of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) places physicians in South Asia at high risk of contracting the infection. Accordingly, we conducted this study to provide an updated account of physician deaths in South Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic and to analyze and compare the different characteristics associated with physician mortality amongst the countries of the region. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study by using published news reports on the websites of news agencies from 9 selected countries in South Asia. Our study included only those physicians and doctors who died after contracting COVID-19 from their respective workplaces. All available data about the country of origin, type of, sex, age, medical or surgical specialty, and date of death were included. RESULTS: The total number of physician deaths reported due to COVID-19 in our study was 170, with half (87/170, 51%) of the deaths reported from Iran. Male physician deaths were reported to be 145 (145/170 = 85%). Internal Medicine (58.43%) was the most severely affected sub-specialty. The highest physician mortality rate in the general population recorded in Afghanistan (27/1000 deaths). General physicians from India [OR = 11.00(95% CI = 1.06-114.08), p = 0.045] and public sector medical practitioners from Pakistan [aOR = 4.52 (95% CI = 1.18-17.33), p = 0.028] were showing significant mortality when compared with other regions in multivariate logistic regression. CONCLUSION: An increased number of physician deaths, owing to COVID-19, has been shown in South Asia. This could be due to decreased personal protective equipment and the poor health care management systems of the countries in the region to combat the pandemic. Future studies should provide detailed information of characteristics associated with physician mortalities along with the main complications arising due to the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Mortality , Occupational Diseases/mortality , Occupational Exposure/statistics & numerical data , Occupational Health/statistics & numerical data , Physicians/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Afghanistan/epidemiology , Aged , Bangladesh/epidemiology , Bhutan/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Global Health/statistics & numerical data , Humans , India/epidemiology , Indian Ocean Islands/epidemiology , Iran/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Nepal/epidemiology , Occupational Diseases/virology , Pakistan/epidemiology , Sri Lanka/epidemiology
12.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0256941, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1416879

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant morbidity and mortality among patients with cancer. Most countries employed measures to prevent spread of Covid-19 infection which include shielding, quarantine, lockdown, travel restrictions, physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment. This study was carried out to assess the change in patient attendance and the efficacy of newly implemented strategies to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on services at the Lanka Hospital Blood Cancer Centre (LHBCC) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. METHODOLOGY: Telephone consultation, infection control, personal protective measures and emergency admission policy were implemented with the aim of having a Covid-19 free ward and to prevent cross-infections. This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted with 1399 patient episodes (in-patient care or day-case review). We analysed patients treated as in-patient as well as day-case basis between 01st April 2020 and 31st December 2020. RESULTS: There were 977 day-case based episodes and 422 in-patient based episodes. There was a 14% drop in episode numbers compared to same period in 2019. There was no cross infection and no patients with Covid-19 related symptoms or positive test results entered the LHBCC during the study period. CONCLUSION: Services in blood cancer care were maintained to prevent late stage presentation and adverse outcome. Measures implemented to prevent Covid-19 were effective to allow continuation of treatment. This study highlights the importance of implementing strict protocols, clinical screening, use of appropriate personal protective equipment in delivering blood cancer care during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the only documented study relating to outcome and successful applicability of measures to prevent spread of Covid-19 infection and maintaining services among blood cancer patients in Sri Lanka.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Hematologic Neoplasms/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Personal Protective Equipment , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Telemedicine
13.
Ceylon Med J ; 66(1): 16-31, 2021 Mar 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1350348

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk of mental health problems during a pandemic. Being stationed at the frontline or not may have implications on their mental health. OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to assess depression, anxiety and stress among HCWs, to explore differences between frontline and non-frontline workers, and to investigate associated factors. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, frontline and non-frontline HCWs were recruited from a COVID-19 screening hospital in Sri Lanka. Mental health impact was assessed using Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). Sociodemographic data and perceptions of social and occupational circumstances were gathered. Categorical variables were analyzed using Chi square and logistic regression. Odds ratios were calculated for the effect of different perceptions on psychological morbidity. RESULTS: A total of 467 HCWs participated, comprising 244 (52.2%) frontline and 223 (47.8%) non-frontline workers, with female preponderance (n=341, 77%). Prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress among HCWs were 19.5%, 20.6%, 11.8%, respectively. Non-frontline group showed a higher prevalence of depression (27% vs. 11%, p<0.001), anxiety (27% vs. 14%, p=0.001) and stress (15% vs. 8%, p=0.026). Being married, having children, living with family and higher income were associated with better psychological outcomes. Perceived lack of personal protective equipment, inadequate support from hospital authorities, greater discrimination, and lack of training to cope with the situation predicted poor mental health outcomes, and non-frontline HCWs were more likely to hold such perceptions. CONCLUSION: Addressing factors leading to negative psychological outcomes in HCWs should be a key concern during this pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Health , Anxiety/epidemiology , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Sri Lanka/epidemiology
14.
PLoS One ; 16(7): e0255394, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1332012

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite the rising global burden, Sri Lanka reported a relatively low caseload and mortality (13 deaths as of 20 October 2020) for COVID-19. This warrants exploration of the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of the case series during the initial passive case detection phase in Sri Lanka, in order to understand the success in containment of the disease for more than nine months in the country through its initial early and rapid pandemic response. METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted using secondary data (hospital records and investigation reports) extracted from all laboratory-confirmed patients admitted to the three main state-sector hospitals in Sri Lanka from 11 March to 7 April 2020. Clinical outcomes were categorized as mild, severe and critical, as per the international classification. Kruskal-Wallis H, Mann Whitney U and Fisher's exact tests compared differences between the variables. RESULTS: The case series comprised 146 live discharges and six deaths. Majority were males (63.2%); mean age of 40.9 (SD = 17.9); and symptomatic (72.4%). Sixty-one (40.1%) had co-morbidities, the commonest being diabetes (20.4%) and hypertension (17.8%). Mild (93.4%), severe (2.6%) and critical (4.0%) disease outcomes were noted. Disease severity was significantly higher with older age (p = 0.037), co-morbidities (p = 0.026); and higher white-cell (p = 0.045) and lymphocyte (p = 0.043) counts; but not with being symptomatic (p = 0.683). The commonest symptoms were fever (62.5%), dry cough (48.0%) and sore throat (26.9%). The median duration (IQR) was 3.0 (1.0-5.0) and 18.0 (15.0-29.5) days, respectively before and during hospitalization. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to high-risk countries, the younger age, milder disease and low mortality observed in local patients during the initial phase of the pandemic, reflect the early success in containment of the pandemic in Sri Lanka. However, once the disease becomes severe, the factors determining disease fatality remain the same as in other countries. This highlights the value of establishing strong public health systems and disease surveillance in a country, which could provide long-term effects on disease control.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/immunology , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Infant , Lymphocytes/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Public Health/methods , Retrospective Studies , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Young Adult
15.
Lancet Psychiatry ; 8(10): 892-900, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331335

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is widespread concern over the impact of public health measures, such as lockdowns, associated with COVID-19 on mental health, including suicide. High-quality evidence from low-income and middle-income countries, where the burden of suicide and self-harm is greatest, is scarce. We aimed to determine the effect of the pandemic on hospital presentations for self-poisoning. METHODS: In this interrupted time-series analysis, we established a new self-poisoning register at the tertiary care Teaching Hospital Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, a lower-middle-income country. Using a standard extraction sheet, data were gathered for all patients admitted to the Toxicology Unit with self-poisoning between Jan 1, 2019, and Aug 31, 2020. Only patients classified by the treating clinician as having intentionally self-poisoned were included. Data on date of admission, age or date of birth, sex, and poisoning method were collected. No data on ethnicity were available. We used interrupted time-series analysis to calculate weekly hospital admissions for self-poisoning before (Jan 1, 2019-March 19, 2020) and during (March 20-Aug 31, 2020) the pandemic, overall and by age (age <25 years vs ≥25 years) and sex. Individuals with missing date of admission were excluded from the main analysis. FINDINGS: Between Jan 1, 2019, and Aug 31, 2020, 1401 individuals (584 [41·7%] males, 761 [54·3%] females, and 56 [4·0%] of unknown sex) presented to the hospital with self-poisoning and had date of admission data. A 32% (95% CI 12-48) reduction in hospital presentations for self-poisoning in the pandemic period compared with pre-pandemic trends was observed (rate ratio 0·68, 95% CI 0·52-0·88; p=0·0032). We found no evidence that the impact of the pandemic differed by sex (rate ratio 0·64, 95% CI 0·44-0·94, for females vs 0·85, 0·57-1·26, for males; pinteraction=0·43) or age (0·64, 0·44-0·93, for patients aged <25 years vs 0·81, 0·57-1·16, for patients aged ≥25 years; pinteraction=0·077). INTERPRETATION: This is the first study from a lower-middle-income country to estimate the impact of the pandemic on self-harm (non-fatal) accounting for underlying trends. If the fall in hospital presentations during the pandemic reflects a reduction in the medical treatment of people who have self-poisoned, rather than a true fall in incidence, then public health messages should emphasise the importance of seeking help early. FUNDING: Elizabeth Blackwell Institute University of Bristol, Wellcome Trust, and Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention. TRANSLATIONS: For the Sinhalese and Tamil translations of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Poisoning/psychology , Self-Injurious Behavior/psychology , Adult , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cost of Illness , Developing Countries/statistics & numerical data , Female , Hospitalization/trends , Humans , Incidence , Interrupted Time Series Analysis/methods , Male , Poisoning/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Self-Injurious Behavior/epidemiology , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Suicide/prevention & control , Suicide/psychology
16.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis ; 15(6): e0009420, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264205

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Dengue is one of the major public health problems in Sri Lanka. Its outbreak pattern depends on a multitude of drivers, including human mobility. Here we evaluate the impact of COVID-19 related mobility restriction (lockdown) on the risk of dengue in Sri Lanka. METHODOLOGY: Two-stage hierarchical models were fitted using an interrupted time-series design based on the notified dengue cases, January 2015 to July 2020. In the first stage model, the district level impact was estimated using quasi-Poisson regression models while accounting for temporal trends. Estimates were pooled at zonal and national levels in the second stage model using meta-analysis. The influence of the extended period of school closure on dengue in children in the western province was compared to adults. FINDINGS: Statistically significant and homogeneous reduction of dengue risk was observed at all levels during the lockdown. Overall an 88% reduction in risk (RR 0.12; 95% CI from 0.08 to 0.17) was observed at the national level. The highest impact was observed among children aged less than 19 years showing a 92% reduction (RR 0.8; 95% CI from 0.03 to 0.25). We observed higher impact in the dry zone having 91% reduction (RR 0.09; 95% CI from 0.05 to 0.15) compared to wet zone showing 83% reduction (RR 0.17; 95% CI from 0.09 to 0.30). There was no indication that the overall health-seeking behaviour for dengue had a substantial influence on these estimates. SIGNIFICANCE: This study offers a broad understanding of the change in risk of dengue during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated mobility restrictions in Sri Lanka. The analysis using the mobility restrictions as a natural experiment suggests mobility patterns to be a very important driver of dengue transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Dengue/epidemiology , Dengue/transmission , Adult , Child , Climate , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Physical Distancing , Schools/statistics & numerical data , Sri Lanka/epidemiology
18.
Med Humanit ; 47(3): 380-383, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1223632

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has stressed healthcare systems across the globe. We present the experience of an intern medical officer working in a tertiary care hospital during the first wave of the pandemic in Sri Lanka. Her narrative describes how the stress of the pandemic brought into sharp focus the strengths and weaknesses in the health system. We suggest some strategies to improve our health services as the world faces the second wave and an uncertain future. These include structural changes in healthcare services at institutional and national levels, focused educational programmes for healthcare professionals to impart generic skills of disaster management, and the development of telehealth services and computerisation of health systems. We believe that we must maintain this focus to ensure that our patients can be guaranteed quality healthcare in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Delivery of Health Care , Health Resources , Internship and Residency , Pandemics , Physicians/psychology , Age Factors , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Delivery of Health Care/organization & administration , Delivery of Health Care/trends , Disaster Planning , Fear , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Stress, Psychological
19.
Public Health Nutr ; 24(11): 3233-3241, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1203383

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To determine changes and factors associated with child malnutrition, obesity in women and household food insecurity before and after the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. DESIGN: A prospective follow-up study. SETTING: In 2019, the baseline Urban Health and Nutrition Study 2019 (UHNS-2019) was conducted in 603 households, which were selected randomly from 30 clusters to represent underserved urban settlements in Colombo. In the present study, 35 % of households from the UHNS-2019 cohort were randomly selected for repeat interviews, 1 year after the baseline study and 6 months after COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka. Height/length and weight of children and women were re-measured, household food insecurity was reassessed, and associated factors were gathered through interviewer-administered questionnaires. Differences in measurements at baseline and follow-up studies were compared. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 207 households, comprising 127 women and 109 children were included. RESULTS: The current prevalence of children with wasting and overweight was higher in the follow-up study than at baseline UHNS-2019 (18·3 % v. 13·7 %; P = 0·26 and 8·3 % v. 3·7 %; P = 0·12, respectively). There was a decrease in prevalence of child stunting (14·7 % v. 11·9 %; P = 0·37). A change was not observed in overall obesity in women, which was about 30·7 %. Repeated lockdown was associated with a significant reduction in food security from 57 % in UHNS-2019 to 30 % in the current study (P < 0·001). CONCLUSIONS: There was an increase in wasting and overweight among children while women had a persistent high prevalence of obesity. This population needs suitable interventions to improve nutrition status of children and women to minimise susceptibility to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Child Nutrition Disorders , Food Insecurity , Obesity , Pandemics , Urban Health , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child Nutrition Disorders/epidemiology , Child, Preschool , Family Characteristics , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Infant , Male , Obesity/epidemiology , Prospective Studies , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Urban Health/statistics & numerical data
20.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250171, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1186612

ABSTRACT

Effective and rapid decision making during a pandemic requires data not only about infections, but also about human behavior. Mobile phone surveys (MPS) offer the opportunity to collect real-time data on behavior, exposure, knowledge, and perception, as well as care and treatment to inform decision making. The surveys aimed to collect coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) related information in Ecuador and Sri Lanka using mobile phones. In Ecuador, a Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey was conducted. In Sri Lanka, an evaluation of a novel medicine delivery system was conducted. Using the established mobile network operator channels and technical assistance provided through The Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative (D4H), Ministries of Health fielded a population-based COVID-19-specific MPS using Surveda, the open source data collection tool developed as part of the initiative. A total of 1,185 adults in Ecuador completed the MPS in 14 days. A total of 5,001 adults over the age of 35 in Sri Lanka completed the MPS in 44 days. Both samples were adjusted to the 2019 United Nations Population Estimates to produce population-based estimates by age and sex. The Ecuador COVID-19 MPS found that there was compliance with the mitigation strategies implemented in that country. Overall, 96.5% of Ecuadorians reported wearing a face mask or face covering when leaving home. Overall, 3.8% of Sri Lankans used the service to receive medicines from a government clinic. Among those who used the medicine delivery service in Sri Lanka, 95.8% of those who used a private pharmacy received their medications within one week, and 69.9% of those using a government clinic reported the same. These studies demonstrate that MPS can be conducted quickly and gather essential data. MPS can help monitor the impact of interventions and programs, and rapidly identify what works in mitigating the impact of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Adolescent , Adult , Cell Phone , Ecuador/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
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